As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to vote on health insurance reform, the nearly 40 million-member American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has endorsed the bill. AARP cites benefits for America's seniors, including strengthening Medicare, lowering prescription drug costs by closing the "donut hole," and improving the coordination and quality of care.
"The Affordable Health Care for America Act gives our seniors security and stability -- and now seniors will hear from one of the most-trusted voices in America not to believe the scare tactics about this reform," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "This bill makes huge gains for seniors to reduce costs, improve the quality of their care, and give them peace of mind that Medicare will be there for them for years to come."
The Affordable Health Care for America Act and its companion legislation, the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act, contain critical components that AARP and other senior advocacy groups have been fighting on behalf of for years. They include:
* Protecting and strengthening Medicare for today's seniors and future generations of retirees;
* Ensuring seniors can see the doctor of their choice, or find a doctor if they need one, by improving Medicare's payments to doctors;
* Lowering drug costs for seniors by closing the Medicare Part D "doughnut hole" and allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug makers for lower drug prices;
* Taking steps to reduce waste, fraud, abuse, and inefficiency in the Medicare program;
* Requiring Medicare and insurance companies to provide for important preventive services like screenings for diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis free of charge;
* Stopping insurance companies from denying you affordable coverage because of your age;
* Preventing insurance companies from denying you coverage if you have a pre-existing condition or dropping your coverage if you get sick;
* Limiting how much your insurance company can make you pay out-of-pocket;
* Providing affordable health insurance options for those who don't have insurance;
* Providing benefits to help seniors and people with disabilities live in their own homes and communities by establishing the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act is fiscally responsible: it reduces the deficit, it works to reduce inefficiencies, fraud and waste in Medicare, and it cuts overpayments to private insurers that drain resources from the system to protect care for all seniors.
"Medicare has been a lifeline for South Florida's seniors for the last 44 years. The Affordable Health Care For America Act builds on its strengths to provide better benefits and the highest quality of care," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz.